Friday, January 20, 2006


How did it get to be Friday again? The week, once again, flew.

This week was a bit more focused on academics and group meetings. I wanted to up the math and get back to more like our September schedule. The sked didn't exactly work out, but they did do a lot more math-related activities this week. They do amaze me with how far they come in-between "formal" lessons. They are getting the hang of carrying the one and Zack did very well with fractions in the math program. Katie is flying through the program again too. They both have a horror of making mistakes though. So, I've been insisting that they at least guess at an answer before I step in to help. Half they time they ending up telling me they don't need me after all.

For outings, we headed to church on Monday to celebrate MLK day. There was a combined service with our church, and Catholic and Baptist churches. The kids had spent the night with friends and were too tired to sit for the whole thing, but I'm glad they got to see some of it.

The zoo is our new regular Tuesday morning outing. This time we started at the top of the zoo and spent the morning in the bird house. We rarely go to the bird house and it was nice to take the time to do only that. After that, we got cold and hungry and went home for lunch.

Wednesday I headed to yoga, leaving the kids with Pete then they had swim. Instead of heading to the library we snuggled in bed and read books to each other until I came down with a grinding headache and had to have some sleep. While I slept, Kate and Zack read and played with his new slot car set, care of the Marts (thanks, it's great!). Katie has also been covered in sweet-smelling perfume which also came from the Marts (p-u?).
Zack's newest Lego creation:

Thursday we met with a newly forming game group with hopes that the kids would hone their chess playing skills, however, they were both too timid to play with anyone and bickered so much playing each other that it was hardly worth it. It was nice to meet the other two families but not sure what we'll do in the future if the kids won't play.

Thursday has also become Ivy-Pull Day! I'm LOVING my new hedge clippers, which make it a do-able job now. It's going pretty well. I think we'll be able to get the front-side of the house done by spring which will be a good time to plant in the grassy stuff and bulbs I want to put in its place and also give the azalea a chance to bloom without being strangled.
Here's our progress so far:

Today was our regular Arlington group. We now meet at a firehouse and the captain was nice enough to do a presentation for the kids. He put on all his gear, answered the many questions asked and showed us the firetruck. The kids got to sit inside the truck and once again I did not have my camera. Typical me.

In other news--they will start taking Spanish class over at the school starting next week. It seemed expensive at first glance and then I started to see prices of other classes go by and this one got very attractive. Found a lot of good science experiments to try on the ZOOM Web site and found a nice multiplication lesson plan site which we'll begin late next month.

Currently, Katie's working on the math program and Zack is tackling a clean up of the basement. I'll be sending them outside soon though, too gorgeous out to waste away indoors.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A week

I had a tough week of teacher anxiety. It wasn't helped by Pete being away and me not getting to bed at a decent hour.

So, let's see, what did we do this week? Maybe I'll feel better if I see it all written down:

Pete left for San Diego.
We went to see a children's singer at Jammin Java. Great place, Pete's old band used to play there a lot. The kids danced a lot and really had a great time.
After that, we came home and did--what? Cozied up in bed and read books to each other. Katie had Brownies after dinner and Zack and I played chess while she was gone.

The zoo. All day. Really nice weather and no one else there. I let the kids play on the big pizza at the farm for a very long time, until too many little ones came to play. We didn't have to be anywhere else so I tried very hard to tame (heh heh) my habit of rushing us around and let the kids take their time. We didn't get to see everything but we did get to see the handlers feed the octopus, which made it come out from the corner its usually tucked into and also got to see a couple of deer just outside the Think Tank windows. We were able to get up very close to them from inside and we sat on the floor and watched them for a good long while. Man, they chew their food. It seemed like they worked on the same mouthful for the entire time we watched.

In the afternoon, we watched the next installment in the Private Life of Plant series we've been working our way through. Only one more of these to go, I think, then we'll start on something about evolution if I can find something good.

Tuesday night Zack had scouts and Katie and I played games.

Incredibly busy day of running from one thing to the next.

I didn't want to skip my yoga class, so I packed up the kids and the portable DVD player and they sat outside the door while I got a nice dose of serenity. The teacher, John Giunta, played a bamboo flute during meditation and I asked him after class if the kids could take a look at it. He was very nice about it and took a few minutes to explain a bit about how it was made, how it's played and how/why the sound changes when you cover the holes. I want the kids to ask people about the things they like to do, so I appreciated John taking the time to chat.

Home for a few minutes and then off to swim class. This class is great! It turns out that Kate and Zack are the only two in the class, so it's like getting private lessons for cheap. The kids and I like the teacher too. She's involved in scouting and is very willing to fill out the forms to help the kids get their sports badges.

Next, home again and then off to the library for Miss Ginny's ready readers program and to take our time picking out new books to bring home.

It was nice out and we had no plans, so it was time to start in on the ivy-pull I've been trying to get done for about two years now. I talked about invasive vs. native plants and explained that even though it seemed strange, pulling the ivy actually helps our garden. After the explanation, they felt better about pulling and decided to act as anti-invasive ivy super heroes and they did a nice job clearing out a patch of the yard. I am LOVING my hedge trimmer, which I'm using to get through the ivy roots and shoots. I don't think we could get it done entirely by hand and don't want to use the very strong herbicide except where absolutely necessary.

After that, we washed up and Zack went to work on some legos and Katie worked on something, but I don't remember what....

Katie had dance in the late afternoon and Zack and I hung out in the playroom.

In the morning we had a chat about the ones, tens and hundreds place AGAIN and it is still taking time to sink in. This time I tried it with pennies and dimes to see if that would help. I'd like to move them on to two-digit addition with numbers adding to more than ten but without the ones and tens place, I can't figure out how to get them to pick up carrying the one. I had worksheets I was going to have them do in the afternoon to follow up, but decided it would be better if I let the morning's lesson sink in for the weekend and see what stuck on Monday.

Experience tells me that this will come with time, but math is just kicking my ass in the wee hours of the morning. I hate when that happens because I know that the following day I have this air of desperation about me when we go over the work.

Later in the morning we had a meet up with the Arlington HS group at our new location. I like the room a lot and the kids had a good time. I'm so glad we found this group. I enjoy all the moms and their kids too.

The afternoon was devoted to getting the house straightened out so Pete didn't pass out when he got home. Actually, the house wasn't all that bad just a lot of clutter.

Pete got in on Friday night in time to say goodbye to Katie as we were heading her over to a Brownie sleepover. She was nervous about going, but as soon as she got there she was fine and eager to see me off. It was weird having Zack in bed here and not Katie.

Pete and Zack worked on Zack's pinebox derby car design because...

...there was a workshop for building pbd cars. Zack's is looking great, just needs paint and wheels and something about a weight that I'm glad Pete is handling.

I went to pick up Katie from the sleepover and we went out for a mom/daughter breakfast, then hung out at home for an hour before FINALLY taking everything off the Christmas tree and putting all the decorations away.

OK, I do feel better about the week. It all flies by so quickly it can feel like we didn't really do anything. I am still worried about math. They've both gone through the computer program twice and don't want to do it again, but I know they need more practice on the skills. Multiplication is also looming near and they have to learn the tables before I can move them to that section of the program. Guess I need to do a bit of research on introducing times tables so that I feel like I have some guidance. Also need to get to bed by 10 more often so I can get my head cleared of worry and be able to plan out the work ahead. It's always something.

The hugs and smiles are still worth it. :-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Katie and Zack as Wise People at the UUCA pageant

It's nice to get back to normal this week--whatever normal is around here. With luck, my brain might even start functioning by Friday. For the past two weeks I've barely been able to put together a coherent sentence. Feel like we have been pedal to the metal since Halloween, so I didn't make any plans beyond what was already on the calendar.

Tuesday we had our first food co-op pick up. It was funny to see how little I had ordered in comparison to everyone else. Some had entire van-loads of stuff. I'm sure we'll up our orders as I figure out what everything listed in the catalogue really is.

There was lots of mud in the yard where the pick up took place and Kate and Zack got pretty filthy but they had a good time and they wash up fairly easily.

Today I was back to yoga class with my old teacher and an hour and a half class. I really missed it. Wish I could fit in two days a week, but can't carve out the time yet. I'll keep it in my thoughts and something should come up eventually.

So, we're back to Brownies and Scouts, library, dance and a new swim class (was able to find a 12:30 class Wed afternoons for them), yoga and church babysitting for me, travel for Pete and a possible tae kwon do class for Zack (also an afternoon class). Mix in some math, reading and other stuff, field trips and HS community gathering and we are back off to the races.

[By the way, Zack seems to have learned the 2 times tables all on his own and is working through the 5s nicely too with a new Leap Frog game they got for Christmas.]

Still trying to weed out the best from all the good that's out there and make time to just hang at home on occasion.

2006. Bring it on.